SeaWorld falls for raft

SeaWorld Orlando has revealed the first of 15 custom rafts for its Infinity Falls river rapids attraction, opening in summer 2018.

Seaworld

The eight-passenger raft features accessories and fittings resembling supplies found on real white-water rafting expeditions. The circular raft design puts riders face-to-face, allowing friends and family to enjoy this exhilarating attraction together.

Once aboard, riders will embark on an adventure carrying them through a lush rainforest environment inspired by some of the world’s most remarkable freshwater ecosystems.

The new attraction will feature the world’s tallest drop on a river-raft ride and allow visitors to experience the exhilarating feel of negotiating rapids. The ride will also feature an innovative elevator lift designed to transport the rafts to the top of the ride’s 40-foot drop.

Infinity Falls will be the first attraction at SeaWorld to tell a story beyond the ocean and share a message of water conservation through a white-water river expedition.

This is an example of the park’s new “Park-to-Planet” initiative - a mission to help guests understand some of the challenges facing the planet… and inspiring them to help.

The new attraction will be the centrepiece of a newly themed area designed to resemble a base camp for explorers and scientists.

After riding Infinity Falls, families can explore the village and take part in interactive experiences that combine play with education to create an impact on freshwater ecosystems, reinforcing the Park-to-Planet concept.

SeaWorld’s 'animal ambassadors' will also provide up-close encounters with animals native to South America.

seaworld.com/orlando

Aer Lingus adds Seattle

Aer Lingus will launch a new transatlantic route between Dublin and Seattle from May 18.

Air Lingus

The service, which will operate four times a week, will be Ireland's first ever direct service to the Washington city.

The introduction of Seattle will add 50,000 additional seats to the airline's transatlantic programme for summer 2018.The carrier will also add a Philadelphia service, due to begin on March 31.

Stephen Kavanagh, CEO, Aer Lingus said: "We are delighted to announce our 2018 UK summer schedule which includes Seattle as our latest new transatlantic route.

"We believe this service will offer great value choices to our UK guests which boasts connections from 12 key cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

"Since joining International Airlines Group two years ago we have grown and strengthened our Dublin gateway to North America and we look forward to continuing this development in the years to come.

Fares from the UK to Seattle start from £259 each-way including taxes and charges, when booked as a return trip.

aerlingus.com

Budget hotels at Universal

Universal Orlando has revealed plans for two new budget resort hotels as well as a new Fast & Furious attraction opening in Spring 2018.

Universal

The two hotels, geared towards families, will offer room rates from $100 a night and are scheduled to open next summer.

The hotels will feature a combined 2,800 guest rooms, including 1,450 two-bedroom suites for families.

Hotel guests will benefit with early park admission to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay with complimentary transportation across the resort.

The hotels will be located close to the three theme parks and Universal CityWalk's dining and entertainment district. Amenities include a combined three pools, two food courts, coffee bars, poolside bars, fitness rooms and car rental facilities.

The developments will be the destination's seventh and eighth hotels and will bring the total number of rooms up to 9,000 when combined with Universal's 600-room Aventura Hotel, opening in August 2018.

This spring will also see the opening of the Fast & Furious - Supercharged attraction at Universal Orlando.

The new ride experience will immerse guests in the adrenaline-fuelled films and guests will come face to face with their favourite Fast characters.

universalorlando.co.uk

Keys open post-Irma

Over 70% of accommodation in the Florida Keys is now open as the destination gets back on its feet after Hurricane Irma.

Keys

More than 90% of hotel rooms in Key West and almost 80% of Key Largo rooms are welcoming guests, while the vast majority of attractions throughout the Keys are operating normally.

Properties in Islamorada, Marathon and Lower Keys districts are continuing their recovery and renovation efforts and most are due to reopen in early 2018.

The Hyatt Place at Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club in Marathon has been open for weeks while Islamadora's Amara Cay Resort will take bookings from mid-December.

Others in the region, including Hawks Cay Resort, will not fully be ready for another six to 12 months, depending on the extent of the renovations.

Stacey Mitchell, Director of Marketing for the Florida Keys Tourist Development Council said: “We are thankful that so much of our island destination is open and welcoming visitors after Irma.

“We still have a little way to go in some areas, but progress has been very quick and recent visitors have been delighted that Irma has not prevented them from enjoying satisfying, memorable travel experiences in the Keys”.

fla-keys.co.uk

Kimpton Palm Springs open

The Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel opened last month as part of a revitalisation project for the downtown area.

Kimpton

The seven-storey property has 153 rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing views of the San Jacinto Mountains and the desert.

The hotel also includes two restaurants, three bars and vast indoor and outdoor meeting and event space.

Located on the seventh floor rooftop is the 4 Saints' restaurant which serves global cuisine with a French influence. It is adjacent to the rooftop pool and the High Bar which is the only pool of its kind in the area.

"We are so thrilled to have the Rowan join our Palm Springs community," said Mary Jo Ginther, Director of the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism.

"The Kimpton brand will attract leisure and group visitors to Palm Springs from across the globe. It pairs perfectly with the vibe of our city, and anchors this new central downtown experience."

visitpalmsprings.com
kimptonhotels.com

Zipline first on Vegas Strip

The first zipline on the Las Vegas Strip has been announced by Caesars Entertainments, owner of The LINQ Promenade.

Vegas

Named Fly LINQ, the $20-million project will feature 10 side-by-side ziplines capable of simultaneously launching all riders.

The experience will be constructed on The LINQ Promenade, the open-air shopping, dining and entertainment district.

Guests on the ride will take an escalator, with open Strip views to the top of the 122-foot-tall launch tower.

At the top they can choose to ride in a seated or 'Superman' position. The ride will travel 1,080 feet above The LINQ Promenade.

Bob Morse, President of Hospitality, Caesars Entertainment Corporation said: “Fly LINQ will further establish The LINQ Promenade as a must-visit destination, particularly for distinctive Las Vegas entertainment experiences.

“This new experience will join The LINQ Promenade’s growing number of thrilling and memorable entertainment, dining and retail options.”

Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2018.

visitlasvegas.com